International Student Edition
I realized this one thing when I became an international student in Canada: I.Am.Free!!! I can do whatever I want and no one is watching me! My family is far away and nobody here cares about what I do or don’t do! I can pretend to be the good daughter on the phone with my parents; I can lie however I want because they have no way to verify the information. I am free!!! I can follow the popular trends on campus, go out with friends all night, who cares? I am free!!!
I praise the Lord that this was just a realization and not my reality. These thoughts crossed my mind so many times, but I praise the Lord that I chose another path. Though I had the freedom and space to do whatever pleased my heart, I opted to discipline myself. I had a specific time to be back at the dorm on the weekends, I made sure to study the Word of God daily, I took one day a week to simply relax, I avoided university parties, and etc. At times I wondered why? Why am I disciplining myself rather than living out the vibrant university life? I remember that a few of my friends used to mock me saying that my life was nothing but boring, that I was in short ‘lifeless’. I didn’t want to do whatever, whenever, and with whoever due to my relationship with God and my determination to stay pure. My Christianity has never been for the sake of my parents or church; I believe and serve God for who He is and what He has done in me. Hence, it was and is still important for me to walk in communion with God. Even if I chose to lie to my parents about my lifestyle choices, God was there to see everything; how could I then face Him during my prayer time? I really cared about what He thinks of me, that is why by the grace of God I didn’t just do anything and everything. One of the reasons why many international students abandon the way of God in university is because their faith was never a personal affair but a familial or traditional one. Consequently, it’s easy to digress.
1 Corinthians 10:23 “ ‘Everything is permissible,’ but not everything is beneficial. ‘Everything is permissible,’ but not everything is edifying.”
I was determined to stay pure as I didn’t want to be involved in destructive choices. The freedom is there on campus to do whatever, yet are all things constructive? I could have attended the weekly pub night on campus but what would I have gained in that? Time with friends coupled with exposure to alcohol, promiscuity, and the like. Being pure didn’t mean that I locked myself in the room except for class time, on the contrary, it simply meant that I carefully selected my activities to ensure no conflict with my purity goal. Purity was essential for me because I wanted to have a clean conscience both spiritually and physically; I didn’t want to be meddled with choices that would slowly lead me away from God, get me intimate with a man before marriage, or just damage my body as a whole. I just wanted to be pure.
Who was watching me anyways as an international student? No one. I could do whatever, wherever, with whoever but with the power of the Lord, I made the conscious decision not to in order to preserve my relationship with my Heavenly Father and stay pure. Everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial, everything is permissible but not everything is edifying.